GEORGE TOWN - Water rates in Penang will go up from April 1 in a move to reduce consumption and avoid rationing, says Penang Water Supply Corporation Sdn Bhd (PBAPP).
The domestic tariff will go up by between four and 30 sen (S$0.11) per 1,000 litres for usage above 20,000 litres, which works out to an average 16.7 per cent increase.
PBAPP general manager Jaseni Maidinsa said the new rates would not affect those consuming less than 20,000 litres, with the tariff remaining at 22 sen per 1,000 litres.
"This means that 229,657 or 47.4 per cent of the 481,118 domestic consumers in Penang will not be affected by the increase," he said.
For those using between 20,000 litres and 40,000 litres of water, the rate will go up from 42 sen to 46 sen per 1,000 litres, 52 sen to 68 sen (40,000l to 60,000l), 90 sen to RM1.17 (60,000l to 200,000l) and RM1 to RM1.30 (above 200,000 litres).
He said 134,973 domestic consumers would see a maximum increase of 60 sen per month in their bills since they used 35,000 litres or less.
The water conservation surcharge, he said, would remain at 48 sen per 1,000 litres for those using above 35,000 litres a month but households of eight people or more could apply for a 60 per cent rebate of the surcharge.
Jaseni said the main objective for the new rates was to reduce consumption to avoid water rationing.
"Penang faces a risk of rationing during extended dry spells simply because per capita domestic water consumption is too high," he told reporters here yesterday.
The average domestic consumption in Penang last year was 293 litres per person a day - increasing to 298 litres during January and February - compared to the national average of 210 litres in 2013.
Jaseni said the minimum charge of RM2.50 per month for domestic consumers would remain.
Penang Consumer Protection Association president K. Koris Atan said the increase would teach the public not to waste water.
Penang MCA chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun criticised the state government for not practising what it preached.
She said Pakatan Rakyat, which was always against price hikes, was now going against what it had championed.